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W E B Du Bois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868 - 1963) was a black American writer and activist. Du Bois was the first black American to graduate with a PhD from Harvard. He was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Schreiner was profoundly affected by Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, first published in 1903. To Edward Carpenter Schreiner wrote in 1905, “I can’t even write of the book it touches me so”, and she wrote letters recommending it to various correspondents including John Merriman. Du Bois’ son died at a very young age, and his essay about this, ‘The death of the first born’ in The Souls of Black Folks, touched her deeply because of the similar death of her baby daughter the day after her birth.

For further information see:
Amy Bass (2009) Those About Him Remained Silent: The Battle Over W.E.B. Du Bois Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
Edward J. Blum (2007) W.E.B. Du Bois, American Prophet Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press and Bristol: Bristol University Press
W.E.B. Du Bois (1903) The Souls of Black Folk Chicago: A.C. McClurg
David Lewis (2009) W.E. B. Du Bois New York: Henry Holt & Co.
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